For the "In The Round" series of shows at The Roundhouse the term had a somewhat different meaning to what many people may have been anticipating. In essence it meant that the normal standing element of The Roundhouse was replaced with seating while the stage was extended out in a circular fashion to match the arena's natural contours. This has been the format for a series of shows from the likes of Gruff Rhys to Patti Smith and it is here that Sam Palladio had chosen to launch the next stage of his musical career headlining his first London show.
Having spent the summer doing a number of shows with the Striking Matches and making high profile festival appearances at Black Deer and Nashville Meets London this was possibly a little more intimate on the day it was announced that he would once again return to C2C for a number of performances. To match the intimate atmosphere there was a somewhat unusual line up in that the bass and drums were supplemented with Maia Collette's cello. leaving Sam to provide all guitar duties.
In front of a number of peers including Sean McConnell, Sarah Darling, Ben Earle and Radio 2 Producer Mark Hagen, Sam once again took great strides to establish himself outside of his "Nashville" persona, though some in the audience may take a little while to adjust that with the evening punctured by quite a few "I Love You Sam's" only to be met with "I Love You More"!!!
Musically there was perhaps little new to hear in terms of material but it was good to hear it in this atmosphere and with this line up, things kicking off with "Hello Heartbreak Blues" a perfectly delivered piece of almost Eagles like soft rock complete with a cello solo. The next song "Can't Get It Right" some will know from the Matthew Perryman Jones original though it it is of course also one of the batch of songs that were played from the "Nashville" tv series as was the next "Adios Old Friend" the slow gentle ballad giving Sam a chance to test his range.
Working on the series has opened up all sorts of unusual doors none stranger than the Biffy Clyro connection which has seen Sam open for them as well as co-writing "Ghosts" with Biffy's Simon Neil which he had played earlier in the day on the Robert Elms show with just Maia. A further run of Nashville songs saw "I Will Fall" followed by a switch to electric guitar for a bit of noise with "Gun For A Mouth" and "going Electric" the latter complete with a Sam guitar solo.
The real interest though came with the songs that will make up the first album to be release later this year, the funky drum intro that announced "Heading For The Fire" showed a much more intimate side while "Goodbye Blues" was an excellent soulful slow burner of a song. Another of the songs from the recent Bush Hall show "Driftwood" sounded superb in the surroundings with the Cello intro giving the song a sound that swirled around the room. Another song that dates back to Sam#s Borderline shows with Striking Matches, "Wake Me Up At Nashville" retains the ability to silence a crowd, and tonights version played solo was captivating and highlighted Sam's ability to hold an audience.
Special guest time meant an outing once again for Cassadee Pope forced to perform a slightly indelicate move to pick up the microphone in her short outfit. There was an outing for her excellent new single "If My Heart Had A Heart" from her forthcoming album "Stages", before moving on to a cover of Whitney' Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" which saw the song transformed from a lightweight joyful dance number into a smouldering sultry duet, with the line "I wanna feel the heat with somebody" sounding positively x rated!
The set closed with a couple more new songs the upbeat acoustic rocker "Lightning Bones" while the main set set closed out on "Never Come Back Again complete with an anthemic "Whoa" singalong chorus. The encores opened with an unexpectedly moving solo cover of Neil Youngs "Heart Of Gold" before the band rejoined for a final nod to the TV series with the ever excellent "Fade Into You". Sam's next live appearances will be at C2C 2019 where he will be popping up all over the place in fornt of a definitely partisan crowd!